Optimize Agency Workforce Management: Tips to Accelerate Your Talent Strategy

Posted by Deltek on August 30, 2021

Workforce Management

Talent is the most valuable asset to any agency. Now more than ever, it is crucial for agencies to properly plan, schedule and manage people effectively. A recent Deltek study found that 61% of agencies are producing more work and offering extra services, and the challenge to effectively plan resources and maximize profitability while avoiding burnout, is harder than ever before.

Given the current environment, agencies are laser-focused on proper workload management. In our recent webinar with Adweek, industry experts shared a modern approach on how their agencies are effectively managing people resources and ensuring the right talent is in the right place at the right time.

Build Tailored Training Programs

With the majority of employees working remotely, it has become incredibly essential for agencies to nurture new hires and build tailored onboarding programs that immerse teams into the company culture, as well as the work.

As Tim Leake, Chief Marketing & Innovation Officer at RPA shared, “My agency is very big about training and development, and growing the skillset of the people that are with us, because it's constantly evolving. So, to assume that just you grab somebody and they're completely up to date, that's never going to be the case. We always have to evolve and we always have to be ready for what's just around the corner.”

With the stress of the pandemic and people trying to cope with day-to-day stresses of work-life balance, many agencies have prioritized mental health to improve job performance by offering internal webinars and articles focused on employee well-being.  

“Certainly the way we have to execute training is different now because we aren’t physically there in the office,” commented Tim. “And it's tough because people are tired of staring at screens already by the end of the day. So training these days is more focused on bonding or team building. But the biggest difference since the pandemic began would be that there's probably a lot of training that is not necessarily on soft skills. There are now sessions on how to best balance work and life, and being a little bit more understanding to our colleagues’ needs and what they're going through.”

 

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Align Resources to Your Revenue Forecasting

“One of the challenges that I've seen a lot of agencies face is marrying up that new business lens from a revenue perspective and what that means from a cost base perspective,” said Helen Johnson, Managing Director at Tangram Consulting. “From the people looking at the current workload going through the pipeline and what that means from a revenue delivery and a cost view, but then also what it means from a resourcing perspective and having all those areas work together.”

As agencies become more project-based, it has become more difficult to align revenue forecasting with resource needs when many agency roles now require specialization. It is crucial that agencies are aware of how its revenue aligns to the staffing needs - so that they have the ability to scale confidently.

Michelle Mader, SVP of Operations at R&R Partners, shared, “We try to keep a pulse on it as much as possible by working closely with our account leaders and our project managers, and their scoping process to identify who the right resources are. Also, we look at what sort of talent is needed for any given project, and then work together as a leadership team to really look at our business development pipeline and revenue forecast. It’s really important to keep a tight pulse on a weekly basis with check-ins, so that you can have a clear sense as to what your agency needs to be prepared for.”

Give Your Team Best-In-Class Tools

Tools have become an essential element in workforce management, ensuring employees have access to the right software and technology to encourage communication and collaboration, ultimately leading to an increase in productivity and performance.

“One of the benefits of working remotely is having that cross-office collaboration,” said Michelle. It’s now easier working over Zoom and/or Microsoft Teams. So much more happens now on Teams than it has ever before. Everyone is physically remote, but we have the tools in place to collaborate and our agency is working closely together due to the tools available.” 

By implementing the right tools, an agency can be a force multiplier and empower teamwork to accelerate productivity, as well as reducing administrative work and making day-to-day tasks easier on its staff.

“At the end of the day it’s about the people and what allows our people to get things done faster,” shared Tim. “We are now stronger and can collaborate more easily due to our tools and technology. We use a number of tools, including Microsoft Teams, but it’s always important to remember that tools are not a replacement, but it’s going to help us, the people, do more and be more efficient as an organization.”

In order for agencies to thrive, they need to continuously transform their workforce, technology and workplace in ways that can help them sustain growth, retain talent and remain competitive. Continuous employee engagement and holistic wellness are rapidly evolving as a strategic priority for most agencies, which will help with long-term success.

To hear more from our agency experts on how futureproofed agencies manage people resources, watch the On-Demand.